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Pledge of al-'Aqaba

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Pledge of al-ʿAqaba (Arabic: البیعة العقبة) is referred to the oath of allegiance of people of Yathrib to Prophet Muhammad (s), prior to his migration to Medina. The first pledge was held 12 years after Bi'that/621 and the second pledge which held at al-'Aqaba was held 13 years after Bi'that/622 is known as Bay'at al-'Aqaba. The first pledge is known as Bay'at al-Nisa' and the second one is known for Bay'at al-Harab. The significance of these pledges of allegiance is that both were important in preparation of situation for migration of Prophet Muhammad (s) and Muslims from Mecca to Medina.


Lexically, al-'Aqaba means defile[1], a way to get to the top of a mountain[2]. Because both of the pledges of allegiance to Prophet Muhammad (s) were held at a defile between Mecca and Mina, they are known as pledges of al-'Aqaba.

It is located five kilometers far from Mecca[3].

Preparation of Circumstances

Abu Talib b. 'Abd al-Muttalib and Khadija bt. Khuwaylid passed away ten years after Bi'that/618, which left Prophet Muhammad (s) with no supporter, in addition, he was under severe pressure from his enemies[4]. He met six members of Khazraj from Medina 11 years after Bi'that/619. According to the sources, they met either in Mina[5] or in al-'Aqaba[6]. Prophet Muhammad (s) asked about their identity and their allies. They said they were Jews' ally. Then he introduced Islam and Qur'an to them. People of Medina vaguely knew about a prophet in Mecca, and they hoped the Prophet (s) could stop the adversaries between the tribes of Aws and Khazraj. After they returned to Yathrib, they told about the Prophet to people.

First Pledge of al-'Aqaba

In the first Pledge of al-'Aqaba, also known as Bay'at al-Nisa', twelve members of Aws and Khazraj converted to Islam and took an oath of allegiance to Prophet Muhammad (s) in the time of Hajj, twelve years after Bi'that/621.

Here are the names of those who attended:

From Aws:


  • To worship God as the only one and avoid polytheism.
  • Avoid theft and adultery.
  • Avoid filicide
  • Avoid calumnies
  • To listen and obey Prophet Muhammad (s) in all good deeds.

If they took an oath of allegiance, they shall enter the Paradise; if they rejected it, God have mercy on them or they shall enter the Hell.[8]

Naming as Bay'at al-Nisa'

There are some probable reasons for calling it Bay'at al-Nisa' (pledge of the women):

  • Because Afra' bt. 'Ubayd was the first woman who took an oath of allegiance to Prophet Muhammad (s). Although it seems irrelevant, because no women were present in the first Pledge of al-'Aqaba.[9]
  • Because the connotation of this pledge was about accepting Prophet Muhammad (s) as their own family member.
  • Because it was supposed to prevent war between Muslims and polytheists, while war is considered a manhood practice, it is called Bayt al-Nisa'.[10]

First Action of the Prophet (s)

After the first Pledge of al-'Aqaba, Prophet Muhammad (s) sent Mus'ab b. 'Umayr to Medina to teach Qur'an to newly converted Muslims.[11] However some historians mentioned that he was sent to Medina after the second Pledge of al-'Aqaba.[12]

Second Pledge of al-'Aqaba

The second Pledge of al-'Aqaba, also known as Bay'at al-Harb (Pledge of War), took place near Mina, Mecca (today al-Khayf mosque is located there) in the time of Hajj, thirteen years after Bi'that/622. It is said seventy men or seventy two men and two women were present at al-'Aqaba. Also al-'Abbas b. 'Abd al-Muttalib, the Prophet's uncle was present at al-'Aqaba. People of Medina took oath of allegiance to Prophet Muhammad (s) individually or in a group of two. Rafi' b. Malik b. al-Ajlan was the first person who took the oath of allegiance.

Al-'Abbas said to attendants: "Muhammad (s) is one of us, we have protected him as much as we could. He wants to join you, so if you think you can carry out what you promise while inviting him to your town and if you can defend him against the enemies, then assume the burden that you have taken. Otherwise, you had better leave him." Then they said: "We will take the oath of allegiance to him, we will fight alongside him against his enemies and we will be the friends of his friends."

It's said that Bara' b. Ma'rur, or Abu l-Haytham b. Tayyihan, or As'ad b. Zurara was the first person who took an oath of allegiance to Prophet Muhammad (s).

Naming as Bay'at al-Harb

Because people of Yathrib promised to fight alongside Prophet Muhammad (s), this pledge is known as Pledge of War. Some members of Ansar (Helpers) declared they will fight for Prophet Muhammad (s) from the first night. Al-'Abbas b. 'Ubada asked Prophet Muhammad (s) for permission to attack polytheists who were performing Hajj practices in Mina, but Prophet rejected it and said return to your families and relatives.[13]


Main article: Twelve Naqibs
  • After the pledge, Prophet Muhammad (s) chose twelve Naqibs of Yathrib as responsibles of their tribes.[14]
  • It prepared the city and situations for the forthcoming emigration of Prophet Muhammad (s) to Medina.

See Also


  1. Ibn Manzur, Lisan al-'Arab, Vol.1, P.621
  2. Ibn Manzur, Lisan al-arab, Vol.1, P.621
  3. Yaqut al-Hamawi, Mu'jam al-buldan, Vol.2, PP.692-3
  4. Al-Tabari, Tarikh, Vol.2, PP.343-4
  5. Ibn Sa'd, al-Tabaqat, Vol.1, P.218
  6. Yaqut al-Hamawi, Mu'jam al-buldan, Vol.3, P.693; Al-Tabari, Tarikh, Vol.2, P.353
  7. Ibn Sa'd, al-Tabaqat, Vol.1, P.205
  8. Al-Hasan Ibrahim al-Hasan, Tarikh al-Islam, Vol.1, PP.94-5; Al-Baladhuri, Kitab jumal min ansab al-ashraf, Vol.1, PP.275-6
  9. Al-Hasan Ibrahim al-Hasan, Tarikh al-Islam, Vol.1, P.95
  10. Al-Suhayli, Vol.4, P.70
  11. Al-Tabari, Tarikh, Vol.2, P.357
  12. Al-Baladhuri, Kitab jumal min ansab al-ashraf, Vol.1, P.277
  13. Ibn Hisham, al-Sirat al-nabawiyya, Vol.1, P.448
  14. Al-Hasan Ibrahim al-Hasan, Tarikh al-Islam, Vol.1, PP.277-8


  • The material of this article is mainly taken from بیعت عقبه in Farsi WikiShia.
  • Baladhuri, Ahmad b. Yahya al-. 1417 AH/1996. Kitab jumal min ansab al-ashraf. Beirut: Suhayl Zakkar & Riyad Zirkili.
  • Hasan, al-Hasan Ibrahim al-. 1964. Tarikh al-Islam: al-siyasi wa l-dini wa l-thiqafi wa l-ijtima'i. Cairo.
  • Ibn Manzur. 1363 sh/1985. Lisan al-'arab. Nashr-i Adab-i Hawza.
  • Ibn Sa'd. 1405 AH/1985. Al-Tabaqat al-kubra. Beirut.
  • Tabari, Muhammad b. Jarir al-. 1382-87 AH/1962-67. Tarikh al-Tabari, Tarikh al-umam wa al-muluk. Beirut: Muhammad Abu l-Fadl Ibrahim.
  • Hamawi, Yaqut al-. 1873-66. Mu'jam al-buldan. Leipzig: Ferdinand Wüstenfeld.